Step-by-step Be ready for PC emer­gen­cies

Windows 7 Help & Advice - - EXPLORE -

Pre­pare your USB stick

First, you’ll need a USB flash drive – 1GB will be fine. Plug it into your PC and open File Ex­plorer, then right-click it in the menu on the left, select Re­name and name it ‘Emer­gency’. If you’ve used the flash drive be­fore, you can wipe it by right-click­ing it and se­lect­ing For­mat > ‘Re­store de­vice de­faults’ > OK. Make sure there isn’t any­thing you want to keep on the USB flash drive first.

Pre­pare for ac­ci­dents

Now to build your tool­kit. A com­mon dis­as­ter is ac­ci­den­tally delet­ing a file – from your hard drive, an SD card or other stor­age. Pir­i­form Re­cuva can help you get it back, but in­stalling this after you’ve lost files can re­sult in them be­ing over­writ­ten. It’s far bet­ter to have it ready to run from your USB stick. Down­load it from www.pir­i­­cuva – us­ing ‘Man­ual down­load’ is eas­i­est.

Re­cover deleted files

Click the down­loaded ZIP file in your browser, and select Ex­tract > ‘Ex­tract all’. Click ‘Browse’ and select your USB flash drive. Right-click and cre­ate a folder called ‘Re­cuva’ (to make it eas­ier to find in fu­ture). Open this folder and click ‘Select folder’ > Ex­tract. Now if you need to re­store a deleted file, just plug in your USB flash drive, dou­ble-click Re­cuva.exe and fol­low the in­struc­tions.

Down­load a virus-zap­per

If you sus­pect your PC has a virus, McAfee Labs Stinger can help stop it in its tracks. Down­load it from down­loads/free-tools/stinger.aspx. This pro­gram doesn’t come in a ZIP ar­chive, so once it’s down­loaded you can drag the EXE file straight to your USB flash drive us­ing File Ex­plorer. When you want to run it, just dou­ble-click the file and click Scan.

Get ready for a deep clean

If your PC is run­ning slow, or you’re get­ting er­ror mes­sages about cor­rupted files, CCleaner can save the day. Down­load it from www.pir­i­ (it’s the sec­ond link), then ex­tract the down­loaded file to your USB flash drive just as you did for Re­cuva, sav­ing it in a new folder called ‘CCleaner’. To run it, dou­ble-click the file CCleaner.exe.

Sweep away junk and fix er­rors

To free up ex­tra space and im­prove per­for­mance, click An­a­lyze and CCleaner will search your hard drive for un­nec­es­sary files. Once it’s fin­ished, look through the list, uncheck the boxes next to any­thing you want to keep, then click Run Cleaner. To solve er­rors with the Win­dows registry, select Registry from the menu on the left and select ‘Scan for is­sues’ > ‘Fix se­lected is­sues’.

Get set to blast mal­ware

Em­sisoft Emer­gency Kit, from www.em­ soft­ware/eek/, will check your PC for pro­grams that aren’t strictly viruses but are still ma­li­cious. Dou­ble-click the down­loaded file and it will run an in­staller, which au­to­mates the process of ex­tract­ing the files from a ZIP ar­chive. Select your USB flash drive as the des­ti­na­tion, make a folder called ‘Em­sisoft’ and click OK.

Ready for any­thing

Dou­ble-click Start Emer­gency Kit Scan­ner and let Em­sisoft up­date it­self. Now, when­ever you think your PC has a mal­ware in­fec­tion (you no­tice un­ex­pected changes to your web browser, for ex­am­ple), in­sert your USB flash drive, launch Em­sisoft, click Scan and fol­low the in­struc­tions. La­bel the USB flash drive and keep it handy – you never know when you’ll need it.

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